Delhi University’s Equal Opportunity Cell (EOC) runs three short-term courses for differently abled students, primarily for the students of the University apart from giving fee waivers for students from marginalised sections.
The University has received approximately 1700 applications for merit-based undergraduate courses by students with physical, intellectual, or behavioural disabilities. The University provides a reservation of upto 5% in admissions and 4% in employment for them as per the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016.
The EOC strives to make the lives of these students hassle-free by providing short term courses with a duration of 3-6 months on Sign Language Interpretation, Communicative English, and Information and Computer Technology. The courses take place at the DU-NTPC Centre at the Faculty of Arts. Stories from students’ experiences at DU bear testimony to the work done by the EOC in this direction. “We are not treated as students with special needs. Rather, we are made independent. Sometimes I forget that I am blind because I can handle everything just like any other person,” says Vijay Tiwari, a student with disability pursuing his Masters degree from the University.
As a step towards recognising the need for strict legislative policies, accessible support technology, and skills development in uplifting the differently abled, the University has started providing smartphones and smart canes to visually impaired students through the government of India’s Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase/Fitting of Aids/Appliances (ADIP) scheme. The students have also been provided with laptops installed with softwares that would enable them to record lectures and study them in PDF format later.
Feature Image Credits: DU Beat
Equal Opportunity Cell (EOC), University Of Delhi plumped for Students with disabilities for an educational expedition to UK, to King’s College, London, and the University Of Edinburgh, Scotland. Professor Dinesh Singh, Vice Chancellor, Delhi University and Mr. Rob Lynes, Country Director India joined forces to bring the visit to fruition.
EOC had send letters to all the colleges and the EOC in charges of the colleges contacted the first and second semester students with disability. Out of about 100 entries send by the colleges of Delhi University to the University EOC, 22 were short listed. Two student volunteers of Delhi University and 6 faculty members were identified by EOC for the Education Excursion of Excellence for students with disability. Students had the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge about unexampled and latest technologies in the field of disability rehabilitation. Also, the visit widened their noetic purview through interaction with other students with disabilities, teachers and professionals abroad.
University officials and helpers accompanied the students. The leader of the deputation was Shri Z.V.S Prasad, and Dr. Bipin Tiwary was the coordinator. The programme catered plentiful opportunity for the groups to establish contacts and exchange ideas, bring knowledge and circularize shared experiences, thereby paving the way to joint programmes and joint research in the future.
The journey initiated at Indira Gandhi Airport. This educational Excursion was the first of its kind for students with disability which was supported by the key ministries in India Staff from the Equal Opportunity Cell of Delhi University and British Council are a part of the group.
The student’s keenness to get to an international University and interact, learn and expand their horizons was very evident. Students could apparently notice some amount of transition in the cultural variation on the very first day. The day concluded with discussion, interaction and reflection regarding the experiences. Such a voyage is must for successful culmination and explicating a holistic framework for persons with disabilities is dished out by journey of this sort.
DU Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Dinesh Singh recently announced a foreign trip for a 100 disabled students. This was done on the closing ceremony of Badhte Kadam, a campaign to raise awareness about disability. In addition to this, it was announced that all disabled students studying in DU would receive laptops by the end of December.
With regard to the recently announced foreign trip, officials feel that it would enable students to observe the facilities available in foreign universities and then enable them to give suggestions for development of infrastructure in DU itself.
The details are being worked out by Mr. Bipin Towari, officer on special duty of Equal Opportunity Cell and will be revealed soon.
In the recent past, many other reforms had also been announced by DU, with regard to differently – abled students. These include exemption of tuition and hostel fee, reduction in mess charges and an increase in number of seats in university hostels. DU had also asked Delhi Metro Rail Corportion to provide these students free metro cards with centralized recharging.
DU also plans to keep a tight reign over all colleges so as to ensure that rules are being followed, which were being violated by a few colleges. DU students with disabilities had also visited the Wagah border and stayed at Army camps as part of Gyananodyaya, an educational train journey, in October.
These decisions have been hailed as steps in the right direction, in order to promote unity and harmony in the University and thus allow for more a more inclusive environment.